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Kinship Patterns

The Gurdon family

John Gurdon is mentioned in the 1825 document as both a farmer and a cottager so there are two houses occupied by Gurdons. By the 1841 census, there were still two Gurdon households, both headed by a John Gurdon.

1841 John Gurdon aged 55 Farmer John Gurdon aged 40
Sarah aged 50 Martha aged 40
John aged 15 m. Eliz. Taylor 1848 Alfred aged 15
William aged 10 m. Martha Stanton 1853 James aged 15
Richard aged 8 d. 1844 aged 11 Thomas aged 15
Esther Gammon aged 3 Maria aged 14
Amelia aged 12
Rebecca aged 7
Charles aged 5
Hester aged 3
Vincent aged 2
1851 John Gurdon aged 53 James Gurdon aged 28
Martha aged 50 Sarah aged 25
Amelia aged 21 Milliner m. James Cooper 1851 Henry aged 5
Rebecca aged 17 Emily aged 3
Charles aged 15 Ag. Lab. Sarah aged 1
Esther aged 13
Vincent aged 11 Apprentice
Edwin aged 9
Edmund aged 8
1861 John Gurdon aged 75 d. 1868
Sarah aged 72
William aged 16 Grandson born at Burnham
1871 Ann Gurdon aged 82 Blind. d. 1873 (This is probably the person named Sarah in previous censuses.)
George aged 24 Grandson. Had only one hand. Born in Headington.
Richard aged 13 Scholar. Born in Headington.

During the 1840s and 50s not only did they occupy more than one cottage in the village, they had links with other families. They were linked by marriage to the Taylor family when John Gurdon married Elizabeth Taylor in 1848, while William married Martha Stanton, a servant at the vicarage. James Cooper who married Amelia Gurdon is listed as living in Elsfield, but he may only have been lodging in the village, as there is no family of that name in the census.

There are Gurdons who are buried in the churchyard who are not listed in the censuses. These are Thomas who died aged 84 in 1843, Caroline, who died aged 14 in 1844, Eliza,who died aged 26 in 1848, Richard, aged 68 in 1856 who was living at St Clements, and Mary Elizabeth Wells Gurdon, aged 11 months. Lucy Gurdon living at St Clements died in 1864 aged 70 while Elizabeth aged 37 died at Headington in 1864. There is also Elizabeth Crews Gurdon, living at St Clements, who died aged 78 in 1870.

One of the Gurdons, the first John Gurdon married to Sarah, is listed in the 1861 census as a corn dealer, so he obviously supplemented his farming income with dealing in corn. Amelia, daughter of the other John Gurdon, married a baker from Headington, so it may well be that when the family moved out of Elsfield they earned a living in baking bread rather than growing the wherewithal to make it. As late as 1952, the Women’s Institute were buying cakes for an Easter party for the children of the village from Oliver and Gurdon. They spent £1-16-0d. Oliver and Gurdon had a thriving cake factory in Summertown, founded just after the First World War and closing in 1975, when they employed over 200 people.

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